Markers installed by the PHRMC, the predecessor of the NHCP (left, installed in 1941) and by the NHCP (right, installed in 2022). Both markers commemorate the first shot of the Philippine–American War.

Historical markers (Filipino: panandang pangkasaysayan; Spanish: marcador histórico or placa histórica) are installed by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and its predecessor agencies in the Philippines and places abroad that signify important and historic events, persons,[1][2] structures,[3] and institutions.[4] The commemorative plaques are permanent signs installed by the NHCP in publicly visible locations on buildings, monuments, or in special locations. The NHCP also allows local municipalities and cities to install markers of figures and events of local significance, although these markers are barred from using the seal of the Republic of the Philippines.[5]

As of December 2023, the total number of historical markers (designated as Level II) included in the NHCP's registry is 1,381;[6] however, the number of markers from all these lists is almost 1,700 including those decommissioned, lost, and of unknown location.


Main article: National Historical Commission of the Philippines

Examples of memorials and plaques before the Philippine Historical Research and Markers Committee (PHRMC)
Spanish-era (1856) memorial upon the Bridge of Isabel II. An American era historical marker by the PHRMC was added in 1939 and was placed below the cross. Another commemorative plaque was added during the term of Mayor Ayong Maliksi (1988–1998).
American-era (1921) bronze and marble plaque for Filipino WWI soldier Tomas Claudio installed at Tomas Claudio Memorial Elementary School. A historical marker by the NHI was installed in his honor in 1992 at the town plaza of Morong.
Unveiling ceremony of Kabisera ng Republika ng Pilipinas Tarlac, Tarlac (Capital of the Republic of the Philippines Tarlac, Tarlac) historical marker on July 14, 2014, at the Tarlac State University (site of old Casa Real).
Where "Ang Kalayaan" was Printed marker of the revolutionary publication of the Katipunan in San Nicolas, Manila was damaged because of the war. The original site was destroyed. Note the damaged part of the marker.

Before 1933, several civic efforts have been initiated to create monuments and to mark historic sites and events, such as Cry of Balintawak, José Rizal Monument, and the birthplace of Andrés Bonifacio. However, many more historical sites have not been recognized or marked.[7]

The earliest predecessor of the NHCP was the Philippine Historical Research and Markers Committee (PHRMC). Established on October 23, 1933[7] via Executive Order 451 during the governorship of Frank Murphy during the American colonial era, one of its tasks was to mark cultural and historical antiquities in Manila, which was later expanded to cover the rest of the Philippines. The first markers were installed in 1934, including ones for Church of San Agustin, Fort Santiago, Plaza McKinley, Roman Catholic Cathedral of Manila, San Sebastian Church, Concordia College, Manila Railroad Company, Dr. Lorenzo Negrao, Church of Nuestra Señora de Guia, and University of Santo Tomas (Intramuros site). Issuance of markers stopped during the Second World War. Some of these markers were either lost or destroyed during the war and new markers were installed as replacements for San Agustin Church and Manila Cathedral. Throughout the years, some markers have also been reportedly missing as they were stolen and sold as scrap metal.[8] The installation of markers was continued by the successors of the PHRMC: the Philippines Historical Committee (PHC), National Historical Institute (NHI), and the National Historical Commission (NHCP). The standard style of markers has changed throughout the years.

Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila, installed in 1934, was one of the first markers.

The language of the markers are mostly and primarily in Filipino, with markers also in English and Spanish. The first marker to contain a regional language was installed to commemorate the Cebu Provincial Capitol in Cebu City. The markers, both in Cebuano and Filipino, were installed in 2008. The first marker in Ilocano was installed to commemorate Mansion House in Baguio in 2009. The first marker in Kapampangan was installed to commemorate the Holy Rosary Parish Church in Angeles in 2017. Historical markers outside of the Philippines may also be written in the local language of the country where the marker is installed such as German in Berlin, Germany[9] and French in Ghent, Belgium[10] (both markers commemorate José Rizal). Two of the first markers outside of the Philippines were installed in Ghent, Belgium, commemorating the residence of José Rizal when the El Filibusterismo was published, and in Dezhou, China, commemorating Paduka Batara, a King of Sulu who paid tribute to the Yongle Emperor and died there. Both were installed in 1959.

Markers related to Rizal occur the most, and Filipino historian Teodoro A. Agoncillo revealed that during his time (he served the NHCP from 1963 to 1985), their efforts in the board were mostly spent on approving, discussing, and rewriting the marker texts. With the number of marker requests relating to Rizal, he joked "Aba! Pati ba naman eskinitang inihian ni Rizal ibig lagyan ng marker!" (What, they even want us to mark obscure side streets where Rizal relieved himself!).[8]

In 2002, during the unveiling ceremony of the marker National Federation of Women's Clubs in the Philippines in Manila Hotel, former president Fidel Ramos joked that the curtain raising reminded him of striptease, and everybody laughed. It was the last time that the curtains were pulled upward, and from then, the unveiling involves curtain pulling instead.[11]

In 2011, the NHCP stated it will pursue more markers for Visayas and Mindanao for their further inclusion in national history, citing the concentration of markers in Luzon.[12]

The Kudan, the Philippine embassy building in Tokyo, has been declared a national historical landmark by the NHCP and was granted a historical marker on March 3, 2014. It is the first overseas site to be granted such status.[13] During the unveiling of the marker, Ambassador Manuel Lopez called the building as the crown jewel of Philippine foreign service.[14]

On June 3, 2016, the NHCP, for the first time, installed a marker for a nameless personality. A marker was installed in Macabebe, commemorating the leader of the Battle of Bangkusay Channel, the "first native to give up his life for independence."[15]

In 2021, the NHCP issued Quincentennial markers series, while starting 2023, the agency issued Philippine Nationhood Trail markers series.

Markers series

Quincentennial markers

Suluan quincentennial monument and historical marker, Suluan, Guiuan, Eastern Samar, unveiled on March 16, 2021.

Main article: List of Quincentennial historical markers in the Philippines

From March to October 2021, the NHCP and National Quincentennial Committee issued quincentennial markers as part of the 2021 Quincentennial Commemorations in the Philippines (QCP).

Thirty-four historical markers will be unveiled among several sites in regions of Mimaropa, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Caraga, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Bangsamoro. The markers were installed on site with the help of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.[16] Of these markers, ten were installed in Eastern Visayas.[17] The first marker unveiled was the Suluan marker in the island of the same name in Guiuan, Eastern Samar on March 16, 2021.[18]

The markers collectively depict select events of the Magellan-Elcano voyage in the Philippine archipelago. Each marker consists of a pedestal with a globe motif on top as a finial. The tiltation of the globe element was also certified by the Philippine Space Agency. On one side of the pedestal is the commemoration plaque and on another side is a dust marble relief which has a design dependent on the specific site of the marker. The reliefs are made by sculptors Jonas Roces and Francis Apiles and are based on sketches by muralist Derrick Macutay. The NHCP described the designs as a deviation from typical "orientalist" depictions by foreigners of pre-colonial Filipinos as savages. The markers are an attempt to depict events of the expedition from a Filipino point of view.[16]

Marker and pedestal of Malolos.

Philippine Nationhood Trail markers

Main article: List of Philippine Nationhood Trail historical markers

In 2023, the NHCP launched a marker series Landas ng Pagkabansang Pilipino (Philippine Nationhood Trail), commemorating the 125th anniversary of the Philippine declaration of independence in 1898 including the subsequent struggles of the First Philippine Republic leading to General Emilio Aguinaldo's capture in 1901. The commission said, "The markers will highlight the struggle of Asia's first democratic constitutional republic against colonialism as it fought to survive by moving across the country where it met and was aided by Filipinos of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds."[19] The marker locations will follow the sites of the movement of the capitals of the Philippines during the revolutionary period.

The markers series track events that gave birth to the Philippine nation, starting from Kawit, Cavite (proclamation of Independence) to Palanan, Isabela (site of Emilio Aguinaldo's capture by the Americans). Three markers were revealed in 2023, 43 will be revealed in 2024, and the total markers released by 2026 will be 74. The series is expected to yield 100 markers with a standard memorial marker and pedestal.

Criteria and policies

A certificate of transfer and acceptance for a marker.

The following are the policies issued by the NHCP on the installation of markers:[20]

  1. Markers shall be installed for Filipino heroes, historic events and places involving historical acts and patriotic endeavors to dramatize the need to focus to the national consciousness the history of our country from the Filipino viewpoint and to evoke pride in our national heritage and identity.
  2. Installation of historical markers that honor Filipino heroes shall be undertaken after proper and thorough study.
  3. Historical markers shall only be installed in places with great historical value as determined by the NHI Board.
  4. Historical markers for religious personalities maybe installed in recognition of social or historical value.
  5. Historical marker shall not be installed to honor persons deceased less than fifty years, unless they are considered outstanding figures.
  6. Request for historical markers may be granted during the centenary year of deserving persons, places or structures.
  7. Historical markers shall not be installed in honor of persons who are still living.
  8. Historical markers may be installed in honor of foreigners, only in exceptional cases.
  9. Markers of local significance shall be allowed upon approved application to the NHI provided they are installed and financed by the agency, person or organization making the request and in such cases, the seal of the Republic of the Philippines shall not be allowed to be used.
  10. In consonance with the national policy, all texts of historical markers shall be in the National Language.
  11. The historical marker shall have a uniform design, size and materials. The NHI shall exercise the exclusive right (patent) over its use and production.
  12. The historical markers are government property. Any act to destroy or remove the said markers without the written authority from the NHI Board shall be charged criminally in accordance with existing laws. The NHI shall conceptualize the standard design, size and materials of the pedestals for the historical marker.
  13. To ensure the protection, upkeep and maintenance of the historical markers, the NHI and the client (i.e. local executives, descendant of the hero, etc.) shall both officially agree and sign the Certificate of Transfer.

Historical markers by region

Current seal design on top of markers

The following are lists of NHCP historical markers by region. It also includes a list of NHCP markers installed overseas:


Baguio City Hall façade, with the historical marker on one of its columns.

Some historical markers have also caused issues and controversies due to different reasons.

See also


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  2. ^ Orejas, Tonette (June 13, 2016). "NHCP corrects error over true hero of Battle of Bangkusay". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  3. ^ Reyes, Jonas (November 27, 2013). "Historical marker in Subic unveiled". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved June 20, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ Rosales, Mellanie (December 3, 2010). "UP Cebu unveils historical marker". The Freeman. Retrieved June 20, 2016.
  5. ^ "GUIDELINES_IDENTIF CLASSIF AND RECOG OF HIST SITES & STRUCTS IN THE PHIL.pdf". Google Docs. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  6. ^ "Level II Database". National Registry of Historic Sites and Structures. National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Retrieved December 18, 2023.
  7. ^ a b Historical Markers Placed by the Philippine Historical Committee. Manila: Bureau of Printing. 1958.
  8. ^ a b c Ocampo, Ambeth R. "Circumnavigator's paradox". Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  9. ^ "Dr. Jose Rizal historical marker".
  10. ^ "José Rizal historical marker".
  11. ^ a b "Historical markers". Philippine Daily Inquirer. January 29, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2018 – via PressReader.
  12. ^ "2011-2012.pdf". Google Docs. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  13. ^ "Envoy's residence in Japan becomes PHL's 1st overseas historical landmark". GMA News Online. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  14. ^ "Philippine Ambassador's Official Residence in Tokyo Proclaimed Philippine "National Historical Landmark" | Philippine Embassy – Tokyo, Japan". Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  15. ^ "NHCP unveils historical marker of Pampanga's 'nameless youth hero'". SunStar Pampanga. June 8, 2016. Retrieved December 20, 2017 – via PressReader.
  16. ^ a b "34 historical markers to mark the PH Quincentennial". Philippine Information Agency. March 15, 2021. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  17. ^ "10 quincentennial markers to be unveiled in Eastern Visayas". BusinessMirror. February 20, 2021. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  18. ^ "First marker of historic 1521 expedition unveiled in Suluan Island". Manila Bulletin. March 16, 2021. Retrieved March 17, 2021.
  19. ^ Reyes, Noemi (December 4, 2023). "NHCP to install 43 historical markers in 2024".
  21. ^ "NCCA cautions Baguio on developing historical sites – Northern Dispatch Weekly". May 24, 2015. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  22. ^ "Retouch the law before 'touching' Sandugo marker: Chatto to NHCP". Province of Bohol. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  23. ^ "The Myth of the Code of Datu Kalantiaw" (PDF). Official Gazette. Government of the Philippines. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
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  26. ^ "Ownership issues may cause relocation of Soc Rodrigo's historical marker". The Real A.C.T. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
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  29. ^ Cinco, Maricar. "Discovery of Japanese wreck 'surprises' Sibuyan folk". Retrieved January 13, 2018.
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  31. ^ "The Fake National Heritage House of Gloria Arroyo". Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  32. ^ Sembrano, Edgar Allan M. "DPWH topples Bonifacio centennial monument in Makati". Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  33. ^ Adel, Rosette. "DPWH: Makati gov't informed of removal of Bonifacio monument". Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  34. ^ "What happened to the centennial Bonifacio monument in Taguig?". Rappler. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  35. ^ "Manila 'comfort woman' statue catches DFA's attention". ABS-CBN News. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  36. ^ See, Aie Balagtas. "'Comfort woman' statue not an insult vs Japan'". Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  37. ^ "LOOK: Comfort Woman statue on Roxas Boulevard removed". GMA News Online. April 29, 2018. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  38. ^ "Gabriela condemns govt's removal of comfort woman statue". Kodao Productions. April 28, 2018. Archived from the original on April 30, 2018. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  39. ^ "Duterte: Removed comfort woman statue can be put somewhere else". GMA News Online. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  40. ^ Melican, Nathaniel R. "Jabidah massacre shrine marker unveiled". Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  41. ^ "Patricio Mariano – Aurora Metropolis". (in Tagalog). March 9, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2018.
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  43. ^ Orejas, Tonette. "Freedom Day celebrated in church, not mansion". Retrieved December 20, 2017.
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